How to use homemade yogurt

Sep 12, 2013 1

greek-yogurt-h

(Greek yogurt with diced pineapple)

How to use homemade yogurt

So you just made a batch of fresh, homemade yogurt from our other post here.

“So I made this 1/2 gallon or gallon of yogurt. That’s a lot! What do I do with it?”

What don’t you do with it? I mean this could be a seriously long post, and I don’t think I feel like typing that much really 🙂 Let’s just cover some of the basics and then you can roll with it from there.

Greek yogurt

One of the most popular types of yogurt today is Greek yogurt, and for good reason. Pint for pint it has a lot more protein in it than regular yogurt (about double). It’s also thicker making it a suitable sour cream substitute.

“Well, I just made regular yogurt not Greek yogurt.”

That’s right, but all Greek yogurt is is strained regular yogurt (what you just made here.) With one more step and some extra hours you can take your regular yogurt and make Greek yogurt and have some whey left over!

Here’s what you do. Depending on how much yogurt you want to strain get a sufficiently sized bowl. Rubber band some (about 5-8) layers of cheesecloth to the top of the bowl (with some slack in the cheesecloth). Pour your yogurt onto the cheesecloth and wait. 2-4 hours later (depending on how thick you want it) scrape the yogurt off the cheese cloth into a dish and you’re done. You now have a plain Greek yogurt. Us this anywhere sour cream is called for as a high protein substitute. DON’T throw away the whey! Like buttermilk, yogurt whey is just the byproduct of the process, but whey too is a liquid gold and is very versatile in the kitchen.

Yogurt cheese

Mmmm cheese. Did you know you can turn yogurt into cheese? The process is identical to the process above for making Greek yogurt only let the yogurt strain on the cheesecloth longer. To get a good yogurt cheese, let the yogurt strain for anywhere from  6 to 12 hours depending on how thick you want it. Scrape off the cheesecloth and chill in the fridge. You now have a yogurt based cream cheese substitute! Allow for about 1 cup of yogurt for every 1/3 Cup of yogurt cheese you want to end up with (that’s how much whey we strain out)

Flavored Yogurt

Plain is pretty yummy, but most people aren’t going to sit down to a bowl of plain yogurt. Add some flavor! The limits here are up to your imagination. Puree some strawberries and add a little local raw honey and stir it in. Stir in a tablespoon of organic, no sugar added fruit jams. Put 1 tablespoon of local honey and a splash of vanilla extract. Mash up some blueberries and some banana and stir it in. The point is it’s all just real food you’re adding and it’s awesome! You’re flavoring options are limited to only what ingredients you can find.

Whey!

This probably will become it’s own post shortly and will link to it soon.

UPDATE: Frozen Yogurt! (10/10/2013)

I’m not sure how I left that out of the initial post! Pretty simple on this one if you have a homemade ice cream maker. Add yogurt and flavorings in to the ice cream maker and follow the directions that came with it. Yumm! I healthy treat for the family!

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How To Make Homemade Yogurt

Sep 10, 2013 0

finished-yogurt-h

How to make homemade yogurt

The health benefits of yogurt (some of which we discussed in our post about cultured dairy here) are many. Today it is or already has become one of the new “it” foods. Just look at the grocery store, there’s probably one aisle dedicated to yogurt and cheese. The variety and type of yogurt seem endless;

“Do I buy kefir, or do I buy Greek?”

“What about goat’s milk yogurt?”

“Swedish yogurt? I don’t even know what that is!”

“2%, fat free, whole, ….raw!?”

With that kind of selection why make your own yogurt? Well, maybe you’re just obsessed with knowing how everything is made and trying to make it yourself (or maybe that’s just me.)

Control

Well, the main reason to make your own yogurt is sugar. To a lot of people, plain yogurt just doesn’t taste that good, so how do you sell it? Add sugar! Mmmmm, yummy, “now they’ll buy it!” The problem is depending on type and flavor, there’s quite a bit of sugar in these. A  cup of a major name brand has 26 g of sugar (a 12 oz Coke has 39 g)! The little plain yogurt that I use some of as a starter has 15 g and we don’t even use the whole thing. Plus that little bit of yogurt makes a 1/2 gallon of yogurt. One of the main points of yogurt and that the bacteria eat the lactose (dairy sugar) and convert it to lactic acid (tangy yumminess!). Then we go and add refined sugar back into it so that it “tastes better.”

Also, as is the case with all do-it-yourself recipes, there’s ingredient control. Want to know what quality of milk your yogurt started out as? Want to know how many (or few) live active cultures are in your yogurt? How about which and how much of those sweeteners are used? Well, we should want to know all of this, and making it at home you get to decide what does and does not go in.

But really, it’s cheap, it’s EASY, and it’s amazingly good! Maybe it’s even a little fun doing the process right in your own kitchen that is THOUSANDS of years old (if you’re a history buff and/or love geeking out on useless info check out this history of yogurt on dairygoodness.ca)!

There’s many ways to make yogurt (the variety is in the details), but the science is simple. Heat the milk to prepare the whey proteins. Cool the milk a bit to not kill the incoming bacteria. Add bacteria. Let it sit while bacteria multiply. Stop bacteria from multiplying. That’s it, easy right?

Here’s the method and tools I use.

To start, put your half gallon of milk in a sauce pan on low heat (we’re trying to heat the milk without scalding it). Using a thermometer like this one we use, heat the milk to 190°.

 

Heat milk

(the fat floats to the surface when the milk is not homogenized.)

 

Once at 190°, we need to quickly cool it down to 120°. I do this by “floating” the 3qt pot in a 8qt pot will some ice water in it and whisk until cooled to 120°.

 

Float to cool

 

Whisk the yogurt and the pectin in well and then divide the yogurt into the two 1qt jars.

 

whisk it in

yogurt jars

Place the jars in an igloo style lunch box and fill with HOT tap water (tap water needs to reach temp of about 120° and mine sits right at 120° on full heat). Once filled with water up to the line on the jar where the top of the yogurt reaches, cover the lunch box and let sit for 4-8 hours.

 

in igloo

 

The longer it sits, the stronger the tangy yogurt flavor will be. When it’s ready, take the jars out, dry them off, and whisk the yogurt in the jar (the whisking helps stop the culturing process). Put the jars in the fridge and let cool. When cooled, you have 1/2 gallon of awesome yogurt!

Great! Now what do I do with it? This post was for the why and the how. See our post here for what to do with it.

Homemade organic plain yogurt
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This yogurt is probiotic rich full of live active culture. When made with non-homogenized milk it's even extra creamy. It's delicious and great for you! This recipe uses yogurt as the starter. You can use a starter culture but follow the recipe on the box if it varies from this recipe. Additional yogurt and/or a little powdered milk can be used to make this even thicker, but this is how we like it as is.
Servings Prep Time
81 Cup 5minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings Prep Time
81 Cup 5minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Homemade organic plain yogurt
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
This yogurt is probiotic rich full of live active culture. When made with non-homogenized milk it's even extra creamy. It's delicious and great for you! This recipe uses yogurt as the starter. You can use a starter culture but follow the recipe on the box if it varies from this recipe. Additional yogurt and/or a little powdered milk can be used to make this even thicker, but this is how we like it as is.
Servings Prep Time
81 Cup 5minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings Prep Time
81 Cup 5minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Gallon milk 2% or Whole (organic, non-homogenized, low-pastuerized at best)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Yogurt organic (must be plain)
  • 3-4 Tbsp Pectin Liquid
Servings: 1 Cup
Units:
Instructions
  1. Heat milk over medium to medium-low heat to 190 F. Stirring frequently so as not to scald the milk.
  2. While milk is coming up to temperature prepare a cold water bath in a larger pot that you can float the pot with the milk in it.
  3. When milk is at temperature float it in the cold water bath and whisk milk until it has cooled to 120 F
  4. Once at 120 F whisk in the yogurt and pectin and divide into two 1 qt jars.
  5. Place the jars in the igloo type lunchbox and will to top of yogurt with 120 F water. My tap water, at it's hottest, is right around 120 F and yours probably is too. If so just use your hottest tap water.
  6. Close the lunchbox and let it rest for 4-8 hours. Yogurt will become tangier the longer it incubates.
  7. When done incubating, remove jars and whisk the yogurt to begin to stopping of the culturing process and then refrigerate. Yogurt is ready to eat when chilled.
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We Americans need more culture

Sep 3, 2013 2

cultured-dairy

We Americans need more culture

It’s butter, you can’t get any better than butter right? Wrong. If you love butter, sour cream, buttermilk (the kinds that are available more commonly here in the US at least), etc. already then this is going to be, well….cruel.

Sweet cream

In The United States, by law, dairy products are pasteurized to reduce/eliminate the threat of pathogens inside the dairy growing and causing disease. Info on pasteurization is readily available and I won’t dive into a dissertation on the history of that. Long story short, pasteurization kills much of the bacteria inside dairy products. This is both good and bad. As stated, it eliminates/reduces the risk of disease, so that’s good. However, it also kills the beneficial bacteria that are actually good for us (see this post on gut bacteria).

After pasteurization, the cream we end up with is known as sweet cream. In this case, it’s sweet as opposed to “sour”. Not sour like lemon sour, but sour like sour cream and sourdough. Sweet cream has not been soured or fermented, as nothing can grow inside it anymore. This leaves the cream sweet in that it has higher levels of lactose (aka dairy sugar.)

Soured Cream

On the other hand, in Europe and many other countries most dairy products like this are fermented or “soured”. Sour cream in Europe is called crème fraîche (or similar soured creams)(what I don’t understand is why they call a soured cream “fresh cream”, but that’s all on them for being confusing)(at least we got the name right haha.) It is a naturally soured cream. The preferred butter in Europe is also a cultured butter and not a sweet cream butter.

If cream is allowed to sit at fermenting temperatures without having been pasteurized, that same bacteria that we kill here grow and begin to ferment the cream. That is how the term “sour cream” came about. It was initially cream that had been soured so that it had thickened and the flavor compounds had changed to a more yogurt like tanginess.

Side note is we can find cheesemakers and other “artists of cultures” who can use culture starters and grass-fed cream to create crème fraîche from pasteurized cream. This crème fraîche by this brand here I have bought and it is amazing. I can only imagine what it might taste like traditionally made. This brand here sells a grass-fed variety. Also, just use your own grass-fed cream and make your own! For instructions on how to make cultured butter and buttermilk see our post here.

Why do I care?

Diacetyl, lactic acid bacteria, and good digestion. Diacetyl is the compound that gives butter it’s buttery aroma (whoever invented English got real creative with the adjectives on that one “ummm, it’s….”buttery”?). Anyways, as the cream ferments, this compound is concentrated and intensifies. If you’re a butter lover and you haven’t smelled cultured butter before I hope you have strong will power or you may gain weight just by smelling it over and over and…well, you get the point. It can be added to foods to give a buttery flavor (stay away from these foods (if something doesn’t taste like butter because it has butter in it then it shouldn’t taste like butter)), but here we get it the way nature intended it.

Lactic acid bacteria is responsible for giving a tangy flavor. Imagine a butter or sour cream or buttermilk with an even more intense butter flavor AND the slightest tangy undertone similar to yogurt. Are you following me now?

Those who are lactose intolerant may find cultured creams easier to deal with. The fermenting process converts lactose to lactic acid. It takes the sugar that some people have troubles digesting and turns it into flavor. Win, win, right!? The bacteria in the culture are also probiotic and aid in the digestive process. If you were able to add more naturally probiotic foods to your diet there would be less searching labels for foods specifically formulated to have probiotics added in.

If you love butter, sour cream, buttermilk…etc. then I feel you owe it to yourself to experience cultured butter, cultured buttermilk, and crème fraîche. You’ll fall in love all over again, and your gut will thank you.

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